James Stewart Out For SX, Ryan Sipes To AirGroup, Score Awards Night, and Much More! – The Weekly Dirt: December 17, 2014

Welcome to Weekly Dirt, your place on the Internet for off-road news from around the world. This week, we take a look at the suspension handed down to James Stewart for using a non-approved substance at the Seattle SX. We also got word that Ryan Sipes had secured a deal to race GNCC and national enduro. Finally, Kato brings us an update from the Score International off-road awards banquet. There’s plenty to go over, so let’s get going.

James Stewart Suspended For 2015 Season

The FIM levied James Stewart a one-year suspension for use of a banned substance. Photo By Shan Moore

It was a long time coming. In fact, it was eight months to the day that James Stewart received notification from the FIM with a penalty regarding his anti-doping violation. Stewart tested positive for amphetamines from his prescribed Adderall at the Seattle round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, and according to Yoshimura Suzuki Racing, the ruling lays out a punishment that severely affects the entire 2015 season for James and the Yoshimura Suzuki team. Suzuki Motor of America and Yoshimura Racing will continue their unwavering support for Stewart during this difficult period and like all the fans hope to see him line up at the gate as soon as his ineligibility is lifted.

“I’m extremely disappointed to say the least,” said Stewart. “We plan to appeal as I personally feel that the punishment far outweighs the situation; especially since I received both WADA and USADA approvals that prove I’m not cheating. I’m bummed for everyone involved: my family, my team, my sponsors, the promoters and most of all the fans. Unfortunately, I’ve had to be very quiet in regards to this situation but I’ll be telling the full story in the next couple weeks so everyone can understand what we’ve been going through. Thank you all for your continued support.”

Yoshimura Suzuki Racing’s James Stewart has announced plans to be at the season-opening round of the 2015 AMA Supercross Championships on Saturday, January 3 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim to support his team, teammate, sponsors and fans.

Ryan Sipes To AirGroup Husky

Ryan Sipes signed AirGroup Racing as the title sponsor of his off-road team for 2015. Photo By Shan Moore

AirGroup Racing and Ryan Sipes have arrived at a deal that will see the Nebraska logistics company become the title sponsor for Sipe’s off-road effort in 2015. Sipes also signed with Husqvarna, and will retain his Rockstar Energy backing for next year’s assault on the GNCC series and the Kenda AMA National Enduro series. This will mark the Sipe’s first venture into the national enduro series.

“AirGroup has a big presence in the National Enduro series, so I will race a few of the enduro rounds in 2015,” said Sipes. “At the enduro rounds I don’t race I’ll be a consultant for the team, working with Nick Fahringer and Ryder Lafferty.”

“I think racing the national enduros will help me with my riding skills for the GNCC series,” added Sipes. “The national enduros are tighter and a bit more technical and that’s something I need to work on, so I think that will be a huge benefit for me.”

In addition to his off-road commitments, Sipes is also contracted to race three outdoor motocross rounds, and will be available for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna motocross team should any of its riders suffer an injury during the season.

For the past two years, Sipes has been adapting over to off-road racing after spending his entire life racing motocross.

“It’s a whole different deal, switching over from motocross to off-road,” said Sipes. “I started having some better finishes at the end of this year, but I still need to keep working hard and learning as much as I can. A lot of it just boils down to experience, and a few of these guys have raced these GNCC tracks for 10 years or so, which is a big advantage.”

Sipes will make his first appearance with his new team at the 2015 Kenda AMA National Enduro Series opener in Sumter, South Carolina, on February 1st. —Shan Moore

Score Awards Night

Tony Gera leaves the start at the Baja 500, one of four victories he posted during the SCORE season. That netted him not only the inaugural SCORE Ironman class championship but also SCORE Rookie of the Year. Photo By Mark Kariya

SCORE hosted its annual awards night at its tech facility in El Cajon, California, to recognize the top finishers in its five-round World Desert Championship.

The Pro Open Motorcycle championship went to the Bonanza Plumbing/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts/THR Motorsports squad of Robby Bell, Ricky Brabec (the Rider of Record), Max Eddy, Jr., and Steve Hengeveld with 395 points, garnered via three victories and a pair of runner-up finishes. Those results also helped Kawasaki win the SCORE Motorcycle Manufacturer of the Year title.

Second in class was the WFOx Motorsports Honda trio of Mark Samuels, Rider of Record Colton Udall and Ian Young with 389 points after winning twice and finishing second three times.

Tony Gera not only won the inaugural SCORE Ironman class with 320 points after topping the division in the first four rounds, but the privateer also earned SCORE Rookie of the Year honors--one of the few times a motorcyclist has won.

Since SCORE awards points based not only on start and finish but also on number of entries in class, Giovanni Spinalli earned not only the Class 40 crown but was also the overall motorcycle points leader with 396 points via four victories. (In other words, he edged Brabec by a single point for that honor!) His co-riders consisted of Mike Carter, John Griffin and Paul Thomas.

Other class winners included Kevin Murphy/Jim O’Neal/Mark Winkelman (Rider of Record) in Class 30 with 389 points; Max Christensen/Jim Dizney (Rider of Record)/Robert Koch/Jim O’Neal in Class 60 with 258 points; Fernando Beltran in Pro Limited Motorcycle with 241 points; and Raul Hernandez in Sportsman Motorcycle with 419 points.** —Mark Kariya**

That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.